Sunday, June 22, 2008


"Mass is boring, that is why I don't come".

Traditional solution:

So? Do something about it, it is your responsibility, deepen your prayer life, it is your failure.

Modern solution:

Oh! I’ll do something about it, I’ll try and make you more welcome, adapt the Mass to your needs, invite you to perform a ministry.

I know these answers are a bit crass but they do seem to sum up the reactions to the two expressions of the Roman Rite.


Piglet said...

Very astute. Well done. Helpful.

Londiniensis said...

I'm not sure how "modern" is "modern". Dorothy L Sayers, who died in 1957, wrote "Surely it is not the business of the Church to adapt Christ to men, but to adapt men to Christ" so the perception that the Church is being over-accommodating is not purely a "Spirit of Vatican II" phenomenon.

bernadette said...

True devotions(s) v. Lay Ministry. But I`m afraid it`s so far gone now, that silence is the only option. This morning at Mass, we got "Oh haven`t seen you for ages- have you stopped coming to Mass" ?

We could have said: "why don't you START coming to weekday Mass, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Confession, rosary, visiting the dying in the local hospice, sitting with the bewildered for an hour over a cup of cold tea saying nothing, that`s where'll you see us. But we didn`t. Just smiled, politely."

But these days unless you are on the TRAIDCRAFT Rota, the Dutch Catechism rota, the Wannabee Priestess Rota, the Garden fete Rota, the cake stall commitee or the Taize and canapes shindig committee, you`re out.

Silence. It`s the best policy. Like Cardinal Castrillon de H said last week: The Power of Silence. Can`t beat it.

(apart from on the Catholic blogs of course. Phew, or I`d explode.)

PeterHWright said...

Well, it has to be said the following things can all contribute to a "boring" Mass :

Lengthy readings (in the Jerusalem Bible version)
An ill prepared and overlong sermon.
Seemingly endless bidding prayers.
Unsatisfactory music.
The sheer banality of the ICEL translation.

But there is nothing boring about the traditional Sacrifice of the Mass. Words are inadequate to describe it.

It is awesome, transcendent, mysterious, beautiful. Its prayers are rich in spirituality. It is meditative. It is holy. It is a foretaste of heaven. It is unique. It is the greatest gift we could have been given.

Boring ? No !

Moretben said...


Boring? Of course it's boring! It's supposed to be boring! Why do you think it's called the Mass of Ages?


Yawning already? We're only three and a half hours into it. You can't possibly want to sit down already. Remember our brothers in the Gulag, standing all night after a day in the mines...

big benny said...

bernadette: silence or passive-aggressiveness, i wonder?

anna said...

Trad Ascetic:
Boring: that is why I come.
Mod. Ascetic:
Other peoples ministries, trivial music, that's why I come.

leutgeb said...

Too true Father.

Certainly true in an extreme way at some school Masses, to the point where the poor Priest seems wrong footed the whole time because he doesn't know what stange addition is coming next.

Anonymous said...

Bernadette - I try to go to Adoration on a Friday - this week I found myself, for the first time, there at the close. I waited for Father to come in - presuming we would have Benediction. Instead, a rather loud lady [who has been known to shout across the Church during a weekday Mass when she wants to attract the attention of someone she wants to distribute Holy Communion]got up from her seat. She walked up to the sanctuary and approached the altar. Suddenly I had this awful feeling that she was going to give Benediction have never seen anyone do such a quick double genuflection as I did then - I was out of that Church and down the road before you could say priestess.

Of course, I may be doing her an injustice - maybe she stopped short of giving Benediction - but she was certainly going to take the Blessed Sacrament out of the monstrance and return it to the Tabernacle - there was no-one elseon the sanctuary.

So, although I would like to enter into the life of my local Church more - I am afraid of what I will find when I do. Advice anyone? Father? (I live not far from you...) PS I am not bored at Mass though!

Jeffrey Smith said...

I've never, in my whole life, been bored at Mass.

Adrienne said...

Bernadette - But these days unless you are on the TRAIDCRAFT Rota, the Dutch Catechism rota, the Wannabee Priestess Rota, the Garden fete Rota, the cake stall commitee or the Taize and canapes shindig committee, you`re out.

Ok - that got me chuckling!!

I can't ever say I've been bored but the horrible music and other "building community thingy's" that go on are a huge distraction. I sometimes leave either rattled or feeling rather dry.

gemoftheocean said...

Oct. NEWSFLASH (laymen, and women by extension) are allowed to do a form of the Benediction) ... this is presuming the priest or deacon is not there and they have been so delegated by the priest.

It is of course preferable for the priest or a deacon to do it, especially given they can do the blessing which the layman can't.

If you don't like it, I suggest you take it up with the priest...or ask if you can play rock/paper/scissors if you'd rather do it yourself than not have benediction at all. Just out of wild curiosity, would you have been so incensed if a layMAN had done the same as the laywoman?

Fr Ray Blake said...

I dont think lay people can give Benediction.
However ex mins of HC can expose and depose, and anyone can lead prayers nowadays.

gemoftheocean said...

That's why I said a form of Benediction and not the whole nine yards. They can't bless the people with the sacrament, for instance.

Canon 943 of the new code applies. Sorry I wasn't more precise.

If memory serves a layman can also use the incense, but I'd have to double check. The chief difference IIRC was the layman couldn't hold the monstrance with the Host and bless the people.

[Remind me again in processions who uses incense before the priest who'd be carrying a monstrance? In 9 out of 10 parishes..a layman, unless they've got deacons and/or instituted acolytes. (not likely on the later.
I *think* they were basing the use of the incense by a layman on similar grounds, but I've been known to be wrong once or twice before. ;-D )

I'm not sure here why so many people seem to be of the mind that if someone is an EM or lector, etc. etc.... then they automatically wouldn't do the rosary, assist at Benediction/Holy Hours. Why is everyone being pigeon holed here?

BTW, OCT, it really wasn't the woman you don't like you were hiking it outta there on. You were also hiking it out of there on Jesus too before He was reposed in the tabernacle. If I were you, I'd have stayed to make sure she really put it in there instead of danced around the aisles with it, so you'd REALLY have something major to whine about. [She SHOULD be called on talking loudly at Mass.] You could have kept your blood pressure suitably elevated all day and have gotten to write to the bishop too. Oh, Joy!

lms rep said...

Yesterday I went to confession in Westminster Cathedral. At the same time there was a sung latin Mass in the ordinary Rite taking place. Compared with the sung Latin Mass held in the same church but in the extraordinary Rite last week the feeling and atmosphere were simply not the same. The priest facing the people was the most obvious difference - something our Holy Father illustrated on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, when he offered the Pauline Mass ad orientem.
The Sacred Mysteries will always be exactly that. Attempting to "solve" or rationalize those mysteries will always be boring, like attempting to strike a safety match on a lemon!

Angelo said...


It came forth out of the grand mind of the Church and lifted us out of earth and out of self and wrapped us round in a cloud of mystical sweetness and the sublimities of a more than angelic liturgy and purified us almost without ourselves and charmed us with celestial charming, so that our very senses seemed to find vision, hearing, fragrance, taste and touch beyond what earth can give. Father Frederick Faber

Nothing is so consoling, so piercing, so thrilling, so overcoming as the Mass, said as it is among us. I could attend Mass forever and not be tired. It is not a mere form of words, it is a great action, the greatest action that can be on earth. It is, not the invocation merely, but if I dare use the word, the evocation of the Eternal. He becomes present on the altar in flesh and blood, before Whom angels bow and devils tremble. This is that awful event which is the scope and is the interpretation of every part of the solemnity. Words are necessary, but as means, not as ends. They are not mere addresses to the Throne of Grace, they are instruments of what is far higher, of consecration, of sacrifice. John Henry Newman, Loss & Gain

Verity said...

Mass is boring, that is why I don't come".

The solution is, of course to educate the poorly catechised about the wonder and beauty of Holy Mass. The chapter on the Mass in Thomas Howard's On Being Catholic would be a start as would his beautifully written totally orthodox If Your Mind Wanders At Mass and Fr 'Randolph's' Know Him In the Breaking of the Bread

Anonymous said...

Thank you Father for responding to my question and letting others do so.

Yes, I think I would have been just as horrified if I thought a lay-MAN was going to give Benediction. Perhaps I should have waited to see what happened - I just got the horrors and bolted..

[And it's not that I don't like the lady - I don't actually know her - it's a big parish. I just remembered her from the shouting episode.]

bernadette said...

well "big benny", it`s silence, alrght. No victory attached. No energy for aggression. No dsire for it either. (But it's not a bad idea of yours. I might try it. Thankyou.)

bernadette said...

October 671 - yes that happened with us too recently. Matriarchess prances out, removes Jesus without warning because there`s only one of us worshipping him and proceeds to put Him away.

It was quite a privilige remainng to adore him behind a locked door. I thought of some of the saints who`d been imprisoned: Max, Edith, Peter and Paul, Thomas M.

(Mind you, some people these days think that`s aggression. Bless. Good practice though, for when it becomes illegal to adore Him.)